There’s an interesting version of the 355 Lunar Rover on eBay at present (Buy It Now listing ends 28th April 2019). It’s the ‘Tioxide Paints’ version and priced at £225 – not cheap but they are pretty rare.
But it was not just the Lunar Rover or even Dinky that only caught the marketing people at Tioxide Paints’ eye. A Corgi Concorde and a Spot-On Land Rover were also branded with Tioxide. I am led to understand that all three toy companies provided unpainted models to the firm who then coated them with a Tioxide based paint (the Tioxide bit is a whitening chemical and still used today) and stickers, and this done was around 1967/68.
There were only a few models produced for senior managers and favoured clients.
Just a few weeks before Dinky’s factory at Binns Road, Liverpool closed, Airfix, who owned Dinky, held their annual dinner dance at the London Hilton. Today I suppose it would be unthinkable to hold such an event as the company spiralled into bankruptcy but in 1979 it apparently wasn’t.
The guests were all given a memento of the occasion, a specially commissioned gold painted 362 Trident Starfighter, only commercially available in black during its limited production run.
The model comes from Dr Edward Force’s collection, who has written a series of excellent reference books so it has an interesting provenance.
The box label is sadly missing the hand written signature of Ray McNiece, Meccanos’ last Managing Director who had only been in post since May of 1979 but the toy is otherwise a poignant memory of the end of a great brand.
Update: Sold for £120
Disclaimer: I have no connection to Vectis Auctions or to the item and as with all auctions please check the details carefully before you bid.
The listing is unfortunately timed as it ends on January 7th but I suppose if one cancels Xmas and invests the money [c£215 plus postage from the U.S.!] then 2019 would be a very good year for one collector.
The auction is for a late version 104, with stickers and a black bumper, but also with a brown rather than red seat. I have one in my collection and it can be viewed here.
These two models were based on props to be used in a Gerry Anderson series ‘The Investigator’, which made it to a pilot but nowhere else. Dinky had jumped the gun on this one and got in early but were then left with two models that would be redundant before they were even released. The Dinky design boffins remodelled both and came out with two modified designs, the Armoured Command car and the Coastguard Boat which were then released a stand alone toys. The former model claiming it was ‘designed by Gerry Anderson.’
The original props are up for auction on 10th October 2018 at the toy museum based in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex where they are currently on display.
THE INVESTIGATOR CAR:
An original film prop for the ‘The Investigator’ a six-wheeled car, designed by Reg Hill for Gerry Anderson pilot series in 1973 and manufactured by Space Models of Feltham, fitted with a Honda 50cc engine and radio controlled, 221cm long,together with a copy of the Meccano blueprint design, for the ‘Investigator’ Car
THE INVESTIGATOR BOAT:
An original film prop for the ‘The Investigator’, a speed boat, designed by Reg Hill for Gerry Anderson pilot series in 1973 and manufactured by Space Models of Feltham, fitted with a swivel cannon, this would have been towed for the live action sequences,250cm long, together with a copy of the Meccano blueprint design,
for the ‘Investigator’ Boat.